By Gregor Brown
The French anti-doping agency (AFLD) will provide American federal investigators with Lance Armstrong's urine samples from the 1999 Tour de France. Armstrong allegedly used Erythropoietin (EPO) to win that year's race, his first of seven victories.
"The AFLD will meet America's request for legal assistance," AFLD boss Bruno Genevois told Le Monde, according to the AFP. "The process has only just begun."
French newspaper L'Equipe alleged in 2005 that Armstrong's 1999 samples contained blood booster erythropoietin (EPO). It reported that six of the samples revealed EPO, from anti-doping tests following the prologue and stages 1, 9, 10, 12 and 14.
Armstrong has denied allegations of doping in the 1999 race and throughout his career.
AFLD will pass its tests to American Jeff Novitzky, a federal prosecutor of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Novitzky and his FDA colleagues are building a case against Armstrong. They opened a grand jury investigation into allegations made by Armstrong's former team-mate Floyd Landis.
Landis alleged in April last year that Armstrong doped during his Tour de France victories. The FDA has already heard testimony from several of Armstrong's former team-mates and associates.
Armstrong said last month that he is not bothered by the federal investigation.
"I am not doing anything," he said, though he has hired a legal representative, Mark Fabiani, and lawyer, Bryan D Daly.
"I have five kids to raise, a foundation to lead, a sport that I am still participating in and I still love. It has no effect on my life - zero. That's for other people to do."
Armstrong officially announced his retirement from the sport last week, on February 16. He last raced on January 23, the final stage of the Tour Down Under. He finished 67th overall, six minutes and 42 seconds behind 23-year-old winner Cameron Meyer.
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